There are some iconic photos when one trawls through all the information on Japan when planning a trip. The Bamboo Forest appears to be one of them. Our retirees headed to Arashiyama which also has some temples and shrines, however these tall swaying bamboo are definitely the star attraction.

Is is worth seeing? It sure is. Mr and Ms X tried too take a short-cut to give the crowd the slip. It was to be a Mission Impossible.

A wander through the Main Street reminded our travellers of Lorne in the summer! All the crowds this time were heading not to a beach but to their special bridge….. The Togetsu-Kyo bridge happens to be 400years old and is used as part of a blessing ceremony for the local youth. If they look back whilst crossing it, they will have bad luck.

Not quite sure of the attraction.

Back on the train and next stop Niji Castle. This place was to to whet the appetite for Mr x and his late afternoon activity. The shogun would sit in his big chair whilst his samurai would guard him behind secret curtains in case any ninjas would invade the palace. This place is a World Heritage site. Hmmm. These tourists are beginning to think that label is given out like Christmas cards! There‘s a lot of walking and stair climbing around these places and this one even had a moat you had to cross before you even got. to the interesting bits. It’s a lot of work.

Looks can be deceiving- this palace was semi-closed for renovations!

Both Mr and Ms X both remember the Japanese TV series from their childhood called SHINTARO. Whilst Ms X’s memories are more about trying to wrestle the TV from her brother, so she could watch The Patty Duke Show, Mr X loved coming home from school to try and emulate what those ninjas and samurais would get up to. It was only natural that Mr X should take a class to hone those early-childhood skills. No words are needed as the pictures tell the tale!

‘‘And no, we can’t get one of those swords through customs, Mr X!‘‘

A busy day ended perfectly for some- watching the Geelong vs Collingwood game on delay.